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The trials and tribulations of housemates – and there are many…

When in first year you excitedly contemplate moving into a house of your own with your best pals, it all seems like a bed of roses. Yet what happens when it all goes pear-shaped? I speak from (bitter) experience – it’s not pretty. I paid no heed to the warning signs: when it came up in conversation that I was living with five other girls, people grimaced openly, as if to ask, “What are you thinking?”

Living in a house with these people proved very different to halls (note the reference to ‘these people’). Once you’re living in closer confines, it becomes very apparent who has a vague knowledge of basic hygiene and who is an absolute slob. One housemate in particular left a pizza on the kitchen table for 6 weeks. After the first week we attached a not asking, “Is this still edible?” which she paid no heed to. We let stubbornness overcome the fact that our house was becoming a health hazard, and 5 long weeks passed before the pizza finally left us. Maybe we should have confronted her openly but girls being girls, everything becomes a stealthy, undercover operation. The ‘inter-house note’ is a classic case of this. I’ve heard of examples ranging from “I am a PAUPER and if you don’t pay me back for the water bill the bank will EAT ME”, the classic “My milk is gone. If it is replaced within 24 hours, no one will be harmed”, to the more placatory “drunk Sonja ate your macaroni cheese. She craved it. She is sorry”.

There was also the obligatory bitching; however one housemate (she will remain nameless) took it upon herself to bitch about everybody in the house to everybody in the house, a plan as doomed to failure as the latest Strictly Celebrity Jungle Survival On Ice venture.

Minor disputes can escalate into near (all-female) civil wars within the confines of a house. One in particular we now refer to as the ‘kettle war’, which involved two kettles with rival owners, in an ongoing battle concerning which one we used. The kettle split the house into two factions, and we were forced to pledge alliance to a side or face alienation. Now this all may sound a tad dramatic, but believe me I am not exaggerating. My advice: throw a few of the male species into your living situation, more specifically living room (I’m not referring to boyfriends – they’re no help at all), and you’ll have a lot less hassle.

By Ashley Wallis

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